The Lakers haven't played together as a team all year long. Who's to blame? Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Trouble Brewing for the Los Angeles Lakers

Well folks, inevitably it has begun. Sure, most is speculation, but basketball fans know that when Kobe Bryant isn’t happy, that’s never a good sign.

A midst a 6 game road losing streak, the Lakers are far from looking like a playoff caliber team. They have been embarrassed night in and night out, leaving the team and the fans to play the blame game. The only problem is, who is to blame.

With new center Dwight Howard a part of the mix, the first finger pointed is usually directed towards him or his counterpart Pau Gasol.

Others focus on the hiring of Mike D’Antoni to lead the team. GM Mitch Kupchak disagrees. He has repeatedly relayed his confidence that D’Antoni’s system is not to blame. He believes, and is still convinced, that if the team works as one, the season will not be for waste.

The problem has been the lack of effort shown by the Los Angeles roster. The scheme implemented by D’Antoni has yet to fit with the big names on the Laker stat sheet. Howard has publicly displayed his lack shot attempts in the post, which was a staple of his game in Orlando. In addition, Gasol, after coming back from injury, told the media he would not accept a role coming off the bench.

At the moment, the only thing that can be asked of D’Antoni is to keep moving around the pieces, hoping to find that part to complete the puzzle.

One problem, this is the Los Angeles Lakers. Your time is limited before fans start calling for your head, which they believe can be easily replaced.  With 41 games left in the season, the people need to see some progress or else changes will be made.

It’s hard to guess where at the moment, but speculation has risen.

You can be assured that Kupchak will weigh his options if things don’t improve for the Lakers before the February 21 trade deadline.  According to sources around the league, Los Angeles has already had offers for Howard but continues to refuse the idea that he needs to be traded.

It is something to think about. If the team continues to lose, what would keep him from leaving this offseason when his contract is up?

The question is, will a trade right now solve the problem and turn things around. I don’t see it as the answer. The team has all the pieces to be a contender, but it takes time for a new team to come together. There are a lot of attitudes running around the Laker locker room but its safe to say they all want the same thing, to win. Bryant and Gasol have their rings, they know how good it tastes, but Howard is still searching for his first. He must be hungry.

For things to take a turn, D’Antoni and the rest of the team are going to have to make sacrifices, throw away their egos and work together to figure out what fits.

For the time being, the focus is on the now rather than the future. With a record of 17-24, the Lakers sit in 12th place in the West, four games out behind Houston for the last playoff spot. It’s not an impossible feat but one that is going to take a new team. No, not one that involves trading, but one that includes the star players that were put together this off season to win, just a revamped style.

Now’s the time to prove that the Lakers have what it takes compete at a championship level, and if not now, then maybe never for this group.

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers Mike D'Antoni Mitch Kupchak

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